Aiken Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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Motorcycles are among the most popular modes of transport in South Carolina. This is clearly demonstrated by the sheer number of registered motorcycles in the state. However, as popular and convenient as these machines are, riders are usually at a significantly higher risk of injury and death in the event of an accident as compared to drivers in enclosed vehicles.

The lack of protection for motorcycle riders significantly contributes to the severity of injuries and fatalities in motorcycle accidents. In addition, factors such as weather and road conditions significantly increase the risk of being involved in a mishap when on a motorbike due to its two-wheel design, which is inherently less stable.

However, it is important to note that most motorcycle accidents reported in South Carolina are preventable and are often the result of driver error. Distracted driving, driving under the influence, reckless driving, speeding, inexperience, fatigue, and a lack of awareness of motorcycle laws are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Fortunately, victims of motorcycle accidents in South Carolina caused by the negligence of another party are entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses, including but not limited to, medical bills, lost income, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, and so on.

However, due to the complexity of South Carolina’s personal injury laws and potentially strong resistance from the liable parties, achieving fair compensation is often difficult.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Aiken, South Carolina, seeking legal representation from experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyers is essential to navigate the complexities of these cases and secure the compensation you deserve.

At Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer and Staggs, we are prepared to advocate for your rights and help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially from the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. Give us a call today at (803) 649-5338 to schedule a free consultation.

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Motorcycle Accident Statistics in South Carolina

In 2020, there were 116 reported motorcycle fatalities in South Carolina, representing a 9% drop from the 118 deaths recorded in the previous year.

In 2021, South Carolina experienced 167 motorcyclist deaths, making it the fourth most dangerous state for motorcyclists in terms of fatality rates. The motorcycle fatality rate in South Carolina was 11.2 deaths per 10,000 motorcycles that year.

Alcohol involvement is a significant factor in motorcycle fatalities in South Carolina, with 40% of motorcycle fatalities involving alcohol. Adding to this, only motorcyclists under the age of 21 are required to wear helmets in the state.

It has also been reported that most motorcycle accidents in South Carolina occur on secondary roads, with these roads accounting for the highest number of collisions and injury accidents.
Over 60% of South Carolina’s motorcyclist fatalities occurred when riders were not wearing helmets.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Here are some of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in South Carolina:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is perhaps the most common cause of accidents involving all types of vehicles, including motorcycles. Distracted driving includes activities such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the radio. It should come as no surprise that when drivers take their attention off the road, they are less likely to notice motorcyclists, increasing the risk of collisions.

Driving Under the Influence

By now, you are already aware that drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs significantly impairs an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Intoxicated drivers tend to have reduced reaction times, impaired judgment, and decreased coordination, all of which increase the likelihood of accidents involving motorcycles.

Equipment Failure

In some cases, motorcycle accidents are caused as a result of mechanical issues or equipment failure. Malfunctions in critical components like brakes, tires, or lights can lead to loss of control and potentially result in collisions.

Motorists Not Seeing Motorcyclist

Due to the comparatively smaller size of motorcycles, other motorists tend to overlook them or fail to notice them, particularly at intersections or during lane changes. When a driver fails to properly check their blind spots or misjudges the speed of an approaching motorcycle, they can end up hitting the motorcyclist.

Unexpected Obstacles in the Road

Motorcyclists can encounter unexpected obstacles on the road, such as debris, potholes, or animals, which can lead to accidents if not navigated safely. These obstacles pose a particular risk to motorcyclists due to their limited protection compared to other vehicles.

What Are Some Common Types of Injuries After a Motorcycle Accident?

In a motorcycle accident, individuals can sustain various types of injuries. These include:

Broken Bones

Motorcycle crashes often result in broken or fractured bones, with common fractures including femurs, forearms, shins, and pelvis bones. These injuries can significantly impact daily life and may require extensive recovery time.

Road Rash

Road rash is a common injury resulting from motorcycle accidents. This type of injury typically occurs when a rider is thrown off their bike and skids on the road surface. Depending on the severity of the road rash and the protective gear worn by the rider, injuries can range from minor scrapes to deep tissue damage requiring medical treatment and skin grafts.

Brain Injuries

TBIs are a leading cause of death among injured motorcyclists and can result in permanent paralysis. TBIs can range from concussions to more severe injuries like contusions, hematomas, or diffuse axonal injuries. It is always advisable for motorcyclists to wear helmets to avoid these severe injuries.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Motorcycle accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, with the thoracic spine being the most commonly damaged area. Spinal injuries can result in chronic pain, nerve damage, paralysis, and even death.

Are There Any Motorcycle Specific Laws in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, certain specific laws apply to motorcycles and motorcyclists:

  • All motorcycles must be equipped with safety features including proper lighting for visibility on the road and rearview mirrors.
  • All operators and passengers of two-wheel motorized vehicles under the age of 21 to wear approved helmets. Helmets must be reflectorized on both sides and have a neck or chin strap.
  • Motorcycles in South Carolina must be equipped with footrests for riders and passengers unless the passenger is in a sidecar.
  • Motorcyclists are entitled to full use of a lane, and no motor vehicle should deprive them of this right. However, motorcycles cannot be operated between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
  • Passengers on motorcycles must sit on a permanent, regular seat designed for two persons.
  • Riders under 21 must wear goggles or face shields approved by the Department of Public Safety unless the motorcycle has an approved windscreen.

How is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident?

In South Carolina, fault in a motorcycle accident is determined based on negligence and the violation of rules of the road. For a party to be held liable for the injury and losses suffered by the victim, the following elements of negligence must be present:

  • Duty of Care: This refers to the legal obligation to adhere to a standard of care to ensure the safety of others.
  • Breach of Duty of Care: This refers to a violation of that standard.
  • Causation: There needs to be a causal link between the breach and the accident resulting in injuries.
  • Damages: The victim suffered actual harm as a result of the accident.

South Carolina follows a modified comparative fault system, where fault can be shared among multiple parties involved in an accident. If a person is found partially at fault for an accident, their compensation may be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

What Compensation Can I Receive for My Injuries/Damages?

In South Carolina, individuals involved in accidents can receive various types of compensation for their injuries and damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are tangible losses that can be quantified in monetary terms. They typically include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, future medical costs, and other financial consequences directly related to the injury.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, also known as general compensatory damages, are intended to compensate victims for intangible losses that are more challenging to quantify. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation, and loss of companionship.

Punitive Damages

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for extreme recklessness or malice. In South Carolina, punitive damages are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.

Should I Receive Medical Attention Even if I’m Not Hurt?

Yes, it is imperative to seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you do not feel hurt, especially if you are planning on filing a personal injury claim. Keep in mind that the surge of adrenaline produced by the body in response to stress can mask injuries initially, making it crucial to confirm whether you are hurt or not.

Some injuries may not be immediately visible, and symptoms might not be apparent right after the accident. Seeking medical care promptly can help establish a record of injuries, connect them to the collision, and ensure any necessary treatments are included in your case for damages.

How Much is My Accident Claim Worth?

Estimating the worth of a motorcycle accident claim in South Carolina can be complex and is based on a number of factors. These include the extent of injuries, medical bills, lost income, lost earning capacity, property damage, and more.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in South Carolina including those involving motorcycle accidents is three years. This means that individuals have up to three years from the date of the injury to file a claim.

However, there are certain exceptions to the standard three-year statute of limitations. These include scenarios where injuries are not immediately discovered, cases involving minors, instances of medical malpractice, and situations where the defendant is absent from or resides outside of South Carolina for an extended period after the accident.

The statute of limitations for property damage claims resulting from a motorcycle accident is generally three years from the date of the accident.

Why Was My Motorcycle Accident Claim Denied?

When a motorcycle accident claim is denied, it can be due to various reasons, such as:

  • Insufficient Evidence: If there is insufficient evidence to prove injuries and other damages related to the accident, the insurance company may deny your claim.
  • Failure to Meet Deadlines: If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations or miss other deadlines set by the insurance company, your claim may be denied.
  • Incomplete or Inaccurate Information: If there are errors or inconsistencies in your claim application, the insurance company may deny your claim until the necessary corrections are made.
  • Insufficient Coverage: The insurance company may deny a motorcycle accident claim if the coverage cannot fully pay for the damages resulting from the accident. This could be due to policy limits that are only compliant with the state’s minimum coverage requirements.

If your motorcycle accident claim has been denied, it’s essential to review the denial letter carefully to understand the reasons for the denial. You may have the option to appeal the decision with the insurance company.

If the appeal is unsuccessful, you can escalate the issue by filing a complaint with the relevant state Department of Insurance, which will investigate bad faith claims and take administrative action if necessary.

Can My Attorney File the Claim for Me?

Yes, when it comes to filing a claim after a motorcycle accident, you always have the option to have an attorney handle the process for you. In fact, in most cases, attorneys to handle the entire claims process for their clients.

How Can an Attorney Help with Your Compensation Claim?

An attorney can play a crucial role in helping with your compensation claim after a motorcycle accident. Here are some of the tasks your attorney will undertake to ensure the best outcome for you:

Collecting Evidence

Your attorney will gather all necessary information related to your accident, including police reports, medical records, witness statements, and any other relevant evidence to support your claim.

Assessing Liability

To determine who is at fault for the accident, your attorney will meticulously review the circumstances of the accident, available evidence, and all applicable laws. The objective here will be to absolve you of any liability.

Calculating Damages

Your attorney will be able to provide a more accurate estimation of what your claim might be worth. They will take into consideration all the factors discussed earlier including, your medical expenses and level of suffering.

Settlement Negotiations

Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to reach a fair settlement agreement that fully covers your injuries and damages.

Taking Your Case to Trial

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, attorneys are prepared to take your case to trial and advocate for your rights in court to seek the compensation you deserve.

But, isn’t Hiring an Attorney Expensive?

No, at JJWLS, we handle motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee arrangement, you don’t have to incur any upfront costs to hire the attorney. This means you can access legal representation without having to worry about paying for attorney fees out of pocket.

We only deduct a certain percentage from your compensation amount to cover our legal fees. This means that you don’t incur any costs even if we lose.

Get in Touch with an Experienced Aiken Motorcycle Accident Lawyer!

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina, seeking legal representation from a skilled and experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is crucial to protect your rights and pursue fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

An attorney from JJWLS can assist you in navigating the complexities of the legal process, advocating on your behalf, and ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve. Give us a call today at (803) 649-5338 quality and quality legal representation.